4 Most Embarrassing Moments from New York Giants' History
Despite winning four Super Bowls and eight total championships in their 87-year history, the New York Giants have had their fair share of embarrassing moments.
Blowing a 22-13 lead with less than two minutes to go against the Minnesota Vikings in a 1997 Wild Card playoff game comes to mind. Who can forget the 34-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV when Big Blue's offense failed to score (the only points for the Giants were on a Ron Dixon kickoff return for a touchdown) while Kerry Collins threw four interceptions?
More recently there was the collapse against the Tennessee Titans in 2006 where a 21-0 fourth quarter lead for New York turned into a 24-21 loss in the blink of an eye.
There are four moments, however, that truly make Giants fan cringe. Here they are in chronological order for your, um, enjoyment.
Miracle at the Meadowlands
This was as bad as it gets on the embarrassment scale.
A little context is needed before diving into the play that turned a surefire win into a stunning loss. The Giants entered the 1978 season having not made the playoffs in 14 years with only two winning seasons on their résumé during this timeframe. The postseason looked like a possibility after the first eight games of 1978 with New York posting a solid 5-3 record.
Then came a three-game losing streak that dropped them to 5-6. Despite the midseason swoon, the Giants still had a shot at the playoffs, and a win against the 6-5 Eagles would go a long way toward making their postseason dreams a reality.
The Eagles were in an equally depressing time in their franchise history. They had not made the playoffs since capturing the NFL title in 1960. They, like the Giants, only had two winning seasons during their long playoff drought.
New York was in command the entire game and, up 17-12, looked to have a victory sealed when an Odis McKinney interception ended a potential game-winning drive for Philadelphia with just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Eagles had no timeouts left so the Giants simply needed to run three plays and the game was over.
The Giants' play-calling was strange right from the start. They ran the ball on first down instead of taking a knee. On second down quarterback Joe Pisarcik took a knee, but he got Greg Schiano'ed by middle linebacker Bill Bergey. In an attempt to protect his quarterback on third down, Giants offensive coordinator Bob Gibson decided to call another running play.
Giants head coach John McVay claimed after the game that his headphones were not working properly, so he never heard the play call. He said that if he had heard what was coming he would have overruled Gibson.
Confusion and baffling decision-making on the part of Gibson set the stage for the historic miscue. Pisarcik took the handoff and slammed the ball into the hip of a hard-charging Larry Csonka, who didn't seem to know the handoff was coming. Eagles defensive back Herm Edwards—yes, that Herm Edwards—picked up the loose ball and ran it in 26 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
The stunning 19-17 Eagles win had ramifications for both teams as well as the entire NFL. For the Giants, it led to the hiring of general manager George Young, who was the personnel mastermind behind the Giants' first two Super Bowl championships. It also ushered in a new coaching staff, led by head coach Ray Perkins and a defensive coordinator you may have heard of, Bill Parcells.
As for the Eagles, they went on to make the playoffs in 1978 and the next three seasons, with a trip to the Super Bowl in 1980 highlighting the revival.
The game also gave birth to the "Victory Formation" which is employed by every NFL team who has the ball with a certain win in hand—something the Giants thought they had 34 years ago against the Eagles.
Giants fans were not in the Christmas spirit on Dec. 23, 1995 when the San Diego Chargers came to town for the final game of the regular season.
The Giants entered the game 5-10 and were firmly entrenched in the Dave Brown era. The Chargers, on the other hand, were the defending AFC champions and needed a win against Big Blue to make it to the postseason for a second year in a row.
New York jumped out to a 17-3 halftime lead but the Chargers cut the lead to 17-10 entering the fourth quarter. This is when an embarrassing display of immaturity by the Giants faithful started. A snowstorm had hit the New York metropolitan area too close to game time for stadium operations to clean up the stands. Therefore, fans had plenty of snow at their disposal. As the Chargers crept back into the game the snowballs started flying.
The most serious consequence of the fans poor judgement came early on, when Chargers equipment manager Sid Brooks was knocked unconscious by a flying snowball. The snowballs continued to fly through three more Chargers scores, threats by the PA announcer that the game was in danger of being forfeited to the Chargers and the impassioned pleas of Chargers players and coaching staff to stop the dangerous madness.
San Diego ended up winning the game 27-17. The Giants organization felt so terrible about the fans display that they purchased an ad in The San Diego Union-Tribune to apologize to the Chargers.
It was a true low point in Giants history that had nothing to do with the play on the field.
Playoff Collapse at Candlestick
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2003, but entering the postseason that year the Giants were considered a legitimate dark horse to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
New York entered the postseason on a four-game winning streak with the hottest offense in the NFL. Big Blue had averaged 29.4 points per game over its last five regular season games despite scoring only 10 points in its playoff-clinching victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17.
The Giants continued to light up the scoreboard in their road Wild Card Game against the San Francisco 49ers. They led 38-14 with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter when all of sudden the offense stopped scoring and Jeff Garcia and the 49ers couldn't be stopped.
San Francisco scored two quick touchdowns and converted two-point conversions after both scores to cut the lead to 38-30 very early in the fourth quarter. After a second consecutive three and out by New York's offense, the 49ers cut the lead to five with a field goal.
The Giants offense woke up with a 40-yard drive but kicker Matt Bryant missed a 42-yard field goal that would have put the Giants back up by eight with only three minutes left in the game.
San Francisco drove the ball 76 yards for a touchdown but a failed two-point conversion gave the Giants a chance to win the game if they could get into field goal range in exactly a minute. A 33-yard kickoff return by Delvin Joyce set up the Giants at midfield, and five plays later Bryant was lining up for a 41-yard game-winner with six seconds left.
This is when an epic game became bizarre. Trey Junkin, a 41-year-old journeyman long snapper who was signed earlier in the week because Jim Fassel was concerned about poor snaps in previous games that season, ironically made a low wide snap to holder Matt Allen.
Unable to get the snap down, Allen rolled out to his right, looking to make a play with his arm. He spotted an open Rich Seubert inside the 49ers 5-yard line and heaved it. Seubert was clearly interfered with by San Francisco's Chike Okeafor, but it was overlooked by the officials. Instead the refs decided to call a penalty on Seubert for being an ineligible receiver, even though it was discovered after the game that he was, in fact, eligible.
Instead of a re-kick from around the 5-yard line, the game was declared over and the 49ers moved on to play the Bucs while the Giants went home.
It is worth noting that the Giants suffered an even more improbable loss in Week 2 of the very next season.
The Giants were leading the Cowboys 32-29 with 11 seconds left in the game after a 30-yard field goal by Bryant had seemed to cap a 15-point fourth quarter comeback. Amazingly, Bryant sent the kickoff out of bounds, setting up Dallas, with no timeouts, on the Giants 40-yard line.
A 26-yard pass from Quincy Carter to Antonio Bryant, where Bryant was inexplicably able to get out of bounds, set up a game-tying 52-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff. The Cowboys won it on another Cundiff field goal in overtime.
Jim Fassel, who was also at the helm during the Vikings' playoff collapse, sure knew how to lead a team to a loss from a definite win.
The Miracle at the New Meadowlands
Al Bello/Getty Images
I'm pretty sure most Giants fans remember this game like it was yesterday. Since I'm mean, let me describe the gory details anyway.
The Giants and Eagles entered their Week 15 game in 2010 tied atop the NFC East at 9-4. A win for the Eagles meant a one-game lead and the head-to-head tiebreaker (Philadelphia beat New York 27-17 in their first meeting four weeks earlier). A win for the Giants meant a one-game lead with the tiebreaker still up for grabs. To make the game even more dramatic, New York had lost five straight to Philadelphia entering the game.
New York was leading 31-10 with 8:17 left in the fourth quarter. The game appeared to be over. Then two consecutive plays instantly switched the momentum.
First, a 65-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick to Brent Celek on the second play of the Eagles ensuing drive cut the lead to 31-17. Somehow, the Giants were completely caught off guard when Philadelphia tried an onside kick on the kickoff. The Eagles recovered and the comeback was underway.
The Eagles scored a touchdown in exactly two minutes to cut the lead to seven. The Giants offense managed to pick up two first downs on their next drive but were forced to punt, pinning the Eagles at their own 12-yard line with 3:01 remaining.
Vick again led a quick touchdown drive, marching 88 yards in under two minutes to tie the game at 31 with just over a minute left in the game. A quick three-and-out by the Giants appeared to send the game into overtime with just 14 seconds left.
Not so fast. Giants punter Matt Dodge (what is it with Matts and Giants collapses?) was instructed by Tom Coughlin to kick the ball out of bounds to keep it away from the dangerous Desean Jackson. Instead, he managed to do the opposite, kicking it right down the middle of the field.
Jackson dropped the punt but quickly recovered it, disrupting the rhythm of New York's coverage team. Jackson took it to the house untouched to seal a 38-31 Eagles win, taunting the Giants along the way by running parallel to the goal line before finally breaking the plane.
Jackson's antics may have cursed Philadelphia because they have not been the same since. They didn't win another game in 2010 and are 12-23 since that miraculous day. The Giants have fared better, despite not making the playoffs that season or in 2012, winning last year's Super Bowl.